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Fitness Benefits of CBD Oil – Does it Live up to the Hype?

What is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of many compounds found in cannabis, also known as marijuana. These compounds are known as cannabinoids and they have different properties, effects, benefits, and risks. Although related, they can trigger very different responses.

The cannabinoid THC is most responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana. CBD does not produce these effects. In other words, you cannot get high from CBD. CBD oil is simply an extraction of this compound from the cannabis plant. Don’t confuse it with hemp oil, which is a food product extracted only from the seeds of cannabis.

Check out this Foundation Fitness blog post to learn more about the benefits of plant-based proteins, including hemp seeds and products.

Because it produces no euphoria or psychoactive effects at all, CBD oil is not addictive. It will not cause withdrawal or put you at risk of developing dependence. However, as with any supplement, there may be important reasons you should not use it. Always check with your doctor before starting a new supplement or herbal.

Fitness Benefits of CBD Oil

Cannabis has long been used by humans, for thousands of years in fact, for medicinal purposes. The modern research is still uncovering how useful CBD oil may be for a variety of health benefits. A current trend is to use CBD to aid recovery, boost energy, and enhance athletic performance. But does it really work? The evidence is mixed but mostly positive.
Reducing Pain and Inflammation

One important way in which CBD oil may help athletes is by reducing pain and minimizing inflammation post-workout. Anyone who works out and exercises regularly knows that inflammation can result from a hard session. You also know that pain is not unusual after particularly hard exercise.

Any reduction in inflammation can reduce the pain associated with normal muscle pain after a tough workout as well as injuries. There is plenty of evidence from research that CBD can help reduce pain. The studies point to action at certain receptors but also a reduction in inflammation as explanations for how it works.1

Aiding Muscle Recovery

It is the ability to reduce inflammation that may make CBD oil a useful recovery supplement. Rigorous workouts and competitions during which you go all out cause tiny tears in muscle tissue, which in turn trigger inflammation. The body then goes to work repairing the damaged tissue, building it up to be stronger muscle tissue.

This is normal and leads to gains, but there are definitely times when you push it too far. The inflammation and muscle damage in these instances is no longer useful and can even reduce fitness gains and cause injuries. For recovery from difficult workouts, the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD oil may be helpful in healing the damage.

Better Sleep

We can all work out better and perform better when we sleep well, right? So if CBD oil can improve your sleep, it can indirectly improve your athletic performance. A review of research involving all types of cannabinoids and sleep found that there is evidence that CBD can directly affect sleep by interacting with related receptors in the brain. More research is needed, but there is definite potential for CBD to help people who struggle with sleep disorders and insomnia get more and better quality sleep.2

Relieving Stress and Anxiety

Another indirect way that CBD oil may boost your athletic performance and confer some fitness benefits is by managing anxiety and stress. Most athletes know the nervousness that comes ahead of competitions and the stress that can be caused by putting a lot of pressure on working out and succeeding.

These bad feelings may be alleviated by CBD oil. One study found that in people with anxiety disorders, treatment with CBD oil reduced nervousness, discomfort, and anxiety, and improved cognitive function ahead of a performance as compared to people who did not receive CBD oil.3

Improving Performance

This is where the fitness benefits of CBD oil become a little contentious. Some people will claim that CBD gives them more energy and increases their athletic performance abilities. Research to back this up is pretty limited.

However, CBD can certainly reduce pain and inflammation, which in turn can lead to a speedier recovery from injuries and workout-related muscle damage. This improved recovery can help you work out more and longer, so in that way, you could say that CBD oil supports fitness gains. And, the positive effects on sleep and stress may also help you perform better, especially on competition days.